Talking Interiors: Living Room Ideas from Maurizio Pellizzoni
Italian roots combined with British foundations inspired a former Ralph Lauren designer to found his interior design consultancy, Maurizio Pellizzoni Ltd in 2007. He works on luxury residential and commercial projects internationally. He is inspired by the opulence of Lake Como, Cosmopolitan New York, and daily life in London where he lives.
I am so inspired by Maurizio’s work and love the images that he shares on his website and social media. I hope we all will learn a few things on how to redesign your living room and turn it into a luxury haven.
Why don’t we start from the very beginning, Maurizio? Your academics and your professional life?
I moved to London 21 years ago. At that time I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I had a passion for design. Starting out working in smaller boutique shops, I ended up working at Ralph Lauren (ladies wear), where I discovered my love for design and interiors. It was then that I decided to go back to university here in London at London Metropolitan University, undertaking a degree in Interior Architecture.
During the course of those three years I was lucky enough to work freelance for Ralph Lauren’s creative team. This freelance position turned into a full time position as the Home Collections Coordinator for all of the Ralph Lauren Home departments across Europe as soon as I finished university. I was there for about three years and in 2007 I decided to go solo. Starting as a consultant for property developers, helping them to create a homely feel for some of the high-end luxurious properties in London.
I soon started to work on more detailed and elaborate interiors. My portfolio is vast, from a mansion in the picturesque Surrey Hills to a trendy loft apartment in Shoreditch. All of my interiors are inspired by the client’s lifestyle, using what they love as an inspiration.
You were associated with Ralph Lauren as a designer for a long time. I was wondering what made you open your own venture?
Ralph Lauren was what made me after university. During the three years at the London Metropolitan University, I learned how homes are built and I gained a very detailed experience in architecture, which is necessary for any professional. However, it was my experience with the creative team at Ralph Lauren that made me the designer I am today.
At Ralph Lauren I learned to pay attention to all the smaller details, mixing objects and art to create a luxurious lifestyle – the je ne sais quoi. After many years at Ralph Lauren, I was drawn to doing something for myself, as much I loved the brand and its identity, it was time for me to explore something different. With years of experience on my back, I was ready to bring my Italian roots into interiors.
What attracted you to the field of interior designing?
I always had a big passion for design since I was very young. Growing up near Lake Como was most probably what pushed me in this direction. I was very lucky with my family to visit friends beautiful villas in Northern Italy. My family has a furniture manufacturing background so it was part of my everyday life to experience beautiful furniture, objects and interiors. It was very much a natural step for me to take this journey and use my past to create my future career.
We all have certain definitions when it comes to luxurious and expensive things for our houses but a brand like you, Maurizio how will you define luxury when it comes to our living rooms?
Luxury is more of a feeling rather than a physical thing. A living room can be very beautifully designed, but it will only feel luxurious when someone can enjoy the experience. There are so many beautiful, luxurious show flats out there, but some of them have no soul. As much as they can showcase luxury items, they will not make the person living there feel comfortable or welcome. Luxury is about feeling relaxed and welcome in a space/room.
What is your signature style when it comes to the living room?
For all of my interior designs, I always listen to my client’s ideas; I design something for them that are unique and personal. For my living room, like for all of my work, it can all be described in three words; modern, timeless and elegance.
What is the deciding factor for you to take up a specific project or even a certain client? What attracts you the most to get your hands dirty in a project?
For me, it’s extremely important to have a connection with the client, as once a project begins; we spend days/weeks together talking about design, life and sometimes-personal things. If there is no connection the job becomes more challenging and as a creative person and an interior designer, I want to retain that passion and be able to share a connection with the client that translates into their home. It’s an important aspect for any design project.
What was the most exciting thing that you did to procure a unique piece for any living room?
For one of my projects here in London, I travelled all the way to New York to source the perfect piece of art, which I knew it was going to be to add the wow factor!
What was the most eclectic piece you ever did pertaining to the living room designing?
With all of my projects, I usually like to incorporate some of the clients existing furniture/objects. This is because everyone has history and even in a new home, to incorporate that old piece of art or sentiment, is part of the history of the person. I am currently working on a new flat here in London, the client specifically asked me to incorporate a garden concrete statue in her living room.
It’s a piece from her recently late mother’s garden, so this is a very important piece to be included in the living room. This is probably the most eclectic thing I’ve been asked to incorporate to date!
We all face challenges irrespective of our expertise in our fields. Even after all these years in the field of interior designing which one of your projects was the most challenging one?
Each project has its own challenges. They can be related to the structure of the building or the client’s ideas, which are not always possible. It can just be a problem with something arriving wrong the day before we handover the finished project. In my career, I’ve had plenty of these challenges, but I can say that the most challenging project was the Shoredicth Loft apartment simply because of the logistics. Because of the location and the position of the flat we had to bring in most of the large items with a crane, this was very complicated, as we had to get lots of permissions and paperwork done in order to close the main road to install.
What is the current trends/ flavor of the season that you are incorporating in your existing projects?
I think design has long moved away from minimalism, (something I never liked anyway), increasingly, we’re using different textures, materials and colours to create something unique. I think the main trend for 2019 is the use of pattern, for curtains or only for small objects – and I love the fact that clients are becoming braver in their choices to use these patterns and follow more of my advice in this respect.
What your living room looks like? I am so keen to know what design/color theme you are following in your own personal space. Are you the leather guy or prefer linen sofa or a sectional? I would have loved to get hold of the image of your living room but a description would also work.
My living room is very much a reflection of my past at Ralph Lauren, mixing textures and colors. The main palette is tones of brown with touches of grey and a splash of color like the Charles Eames lounge chair upholstered in the signature Missoni Home fabric.
I have noticed that I see a lot of Ralph Lauren in your interior designing; I was wondering what connects you with the brand that you always go back to them?
I am looking for more a connection with the brand connecting luxury.
I love the brand and what they are doing. After many years working for them, for me, it’s only natural to use their product, which I know by heart. In my projects, I don’t only use Ralph Lauren and I am not in any way connected/obliged to use their furniture and accessories. I simply love their collections and an advocate of the range.
You have been associated with this industry since so long and have worked internationally. India is huge and there are other interior designing firms that have been into the business since so long, but what made you choose Mansionly as your launching platform in India?
I love the culture and always felt I could bring some of my style to the interiors in the homes of such a fascinating country. I think Mansionly is one of the best platforms to bring an international designer like myself to this country.
If someone is thinking of designing/renovating their living room, what advise are you going to offer them?
My advice, which is not restricted to the living room, but with the entire design/renovation process, is to step back and start form understanding the space first. It is very easy, especially now with social media, to get carried away with beautiful images and want to replicate the ideas in your living room. Unfortunately, not everything can work in any space, so it is very important to look at the room and understand what we can do with it first.